LETTER FROM THE DEAN:
Dear Chapter Members,
I have been thinking about unicycles recently.
Don't be mistaken; I may be dexterous enough to be an organist, but I have no known ability to ride a unicycle. What I do know about unicycles, however, is that the only way to move forward on them is to lean out. This must feel quite a lot like intentional falling - forcing the length of your body across a single wheel below, in the hopes that the weight distribution will propel you forward.
Thank you for visiting the Greater Hartford
Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO)
The American Guild of Organists was founded in 1896 as an educational and service organization and is headquartered in New York City. Under the leadership of the National Council, a network of volunteer officials at the regional, district and local levels directs the activities of
the guild. The guild is divided into nine geographical regions; the
Greater Hartford Chapter belongs
to Region I (New England) and is one of the largest and most active chapters in the region.
Michelle Horsley, Dean
So many of the projects I've attempted since March of last year have felt a lot like this for me. There are certainly more palatable analogies - the sowing of seeds, the planting of gardens, the trail-making and seashell-hunting. But for me, it often has felt less like poetry and more like the precarious shifting on a single wheel, knowing that the only way forward is to risk some wild, new attempt at balance. Sometimes I have the illusion of uprightness and sometimes I topple. At my best, I can laugh off the awkwardness. At this point, we've all had a great deal of that already and could consider ourselves experts - not at unicycling, but at the constant shifting around on wobbly surfaces, the shrugging off of perceived imperfections, and the willingness to pull ourselves back up there.
With the Greater Hartford AGO, motions continue to be put in place to accommodate a new way of being, both as a chapter as well as a community-led union of 21st-century musicians. From embracing video programming to redesigning/rebranding our website, we are making choices to be visible in new ways. Some may experience this time of video creation and online activity as a simple placeholder until we can do the kinds of events we really want to do. However, I think there's something unique to be learned about identity exploration in these ways. The bigger conversations about this visibility moving forward include ideas about collaborations with other organizations, increased educational opportunities (scholarships, additional grant funding, events for children like the POE or OrgelKids), and outreach in new ways, to new demographics. How can we be the best stewards of our resources? How can we make the most positive community impact? What kind of AGO will excite the next generation?
I'd like to express immense gratitude to our current board - Scott Lamlein, Susan Carroll, Christopher Houlihan, John Parsons, Bob Bausmith, Benjamin Straley, and Noah Smith - for their visioning and support. I am grateful for their collegiality, dedication, and open minds as we have all been faced with unusual tasks this year. I encourage you all to interact with our most recent programming as we continue our monthly video offerings on YouTube - currently releasing "virtual organ crawls" and soon to be sharing performance videos of Jolidon Scholars (for the first time!). You are also invited to join us for our continued monthly online GH-AGO Social Hour (link in this newsletter). Naturally, you are welcome to reach out. My door - er, Zoom room - is always open.
Michelle Horsley, Dean
Jolidon Scholar Videos:
A collection of video performances featuring organ students who are current or previous recipients of scholarships through the Jolidon Fund of the Greater Hartford AGO.
VIRTUAL ORGAN CRAWLS:
Explorations of several local instruments, guided by the organists that play them. These videos feature Trinity College, St. John's Episcopal Church, Asylum Hill Congregational, St. Mary's, and possibly more!
Interviews with local organists /music directors, discussing their response to the pandemic and what they've learned along the way. These videos feature conversations with Scott Lamlein, Jack Pott, Jonathan Reuning-Scherer, and Michelle Horsley.
An array of seasonal organ repertoire favorites, as shared by chapter members on their instruments, featuring John Parsons, Michelle Horsley, Scott Lamlein, Jonathan Reuning-Scherer, Peter Niedmann, Kari Miller, and Cheryl Wadsworth.
Dexter Kennedy Organ Recital
A co-sponsored concert with The Music Series of South Church, this is a full-length organ recital offered exclusively online.
NOTE: Video uploads are staggered, so the dates above reflect when the videos will begin to be released online.
Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, You Tube Channel
Dean: Michelle Horsley
Secretary: Noah Smith
Treasurer: Bob Bausmith
Registrar: John Parsons
Job Listing Service